A driver was shot in the head with a rifle as he drove along Interstate 82 but he still managed to pull over and call 911.
Jose Ramos-Gonzalez did not know why he was shot, but investigators quickly followed a trail to his wife’s former boyfriend, Daniel Solis.
Now, more than a week after that early morning shooting near Prosser, the gang member with a history of stalking is locked up in jail on $500,000 bail.
The 25-year-old Sunnyside suspect allegedly told the teen driver of a “dirty black Mercedes” to catch up to another car on the highway at about 5:20 a.m. Jan. 27.
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Once they were side-by-side, Solis leaned out of the front passenger window of the Mercedes and used a Springfield .22 bolt-action rifle to shoot Ramos-Gonzalez as he was driving, court documents said.
The bullet went through the glass of Ramos-Gonzalez’s closed window, hitting him in the head, documents said.
He survived and has been released from the hospital, said Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts.
3 felony drive-by charges
Solis pleaded innocent this week in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree unlawful possession of a gun, first-degree assault with a firearm enhancement and drive-by shooting.
The drive-by charge includes the allegation he committed a felony while armed with a gun.
McRoberts said Solis is a convicted felon with a history of stalking, residential burglary with domestic violence, attempting to elude police and assault.
Solis once dated Ramos-Gonzalez’s now-wife, and has been prohibited by court order from contacting the woman since 2015.
On Jan. 8, he allegedly broke his former girlfriend’s car window and violated the no-contact order, court documents said. He also had two other pending charges out of Yakima County for restraining order violations, and was out of custody on $30,000 bail.
Then on Jan. 27, he shot his ex’s husband, documents said.
Teen driver asked to make beer run
Benton County sheriff’s investigators created a photo montage including Solis’ picture, and had Ramos-Gonzalez review it. He reportedly identified Solis as the person who shot him.
Investigators found the Mercedes parked at a Sunnyside home and they interviewed a teen that was reportedly driving it.
A teen told investigators Solis was drunk on Jan. 27 when he showed up asking for a ride to get more beer, said court documents.
Solis also “made comments about getting rival gang members,” documents said.
The teen took Solis to another home, where he allegedly got the rifle, and then continued to drive around the Lower Valley until he was told to speed up to a car on I-82.
After the shot was fired, the driver left the highway and pulled over so Solis could drive because the teen reportedly wasn’t driving fast enough.
Manhunt ends at compound
Solis was arrested Friday without incident following a weeklong manhunt.
The Washout Road compound in Sunnyside had been surrounded by officers and agents with the U.S. Marshals Service’s Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, Sunnyside Police, and Benton and Yakima sheriff’s offices.
Solis is a Norteño gang member, according to a Marshals Service news release.
Solis appeared in court with attorney Katherine Bohnet.
McRoberts explained that they were asking for the high bail because of Solis’ felony history and the fact the shooting victim is connected to the victim in a pending Yakima County case.
“He also actively fled from law enforcement over the six days it took to apprehend him on this offense, hiding out at different people’s residences in Yakima County,” said McRoberts. “And he actually fled from the police in a vehicle from one residence.”
The prosecutor said they believe Solis is a flight risk and an extreme danger to the community.
Judge Jackie Shea Brown approved the request for $500,000 bail.
Two others arrested with a possible connection to the shooting — Fernando Rodriguez and Marcus G. Starke — were released from jail Tuesday after prosecutors decided not to file charges.